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September 10, 2022

By Jennifer Carmichael

4 minutes read

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The hoodie is universally loved for its soft, warm and comfortable fit, but did you know this beloved piece of clothing has a rich history submerged in culture? From medieval Europe to sports and street culture, the hoodie has seen it all.

Let’s take a look at the brief history of the hoodie:

1920’s: The sweatshirt

In 1926, after looking for an alternative to itchy wool practice jerseys Russell Athletics produced the first sweatshirt, now widely regarded as a crew neck sweatshirt. The thick comfortable all-cotton material with became known for its comfort and durability and thus the first sweatshirt began production by 1930.

1930’s: The hooded sweatshirt

Born of modest origins, the first official hooded sweatshirt, was created by Champion, formally the Knickerbocker Knitting Co. Looking for a solution to keep laborers and athletes warm and protected from the elements, Champion created a thicker and warmer all-cotton material, and combined it with a hood resulting in the hoodie.

Although Champion and Russell Athletics are the oldest hoodie and sweatshirt brands they are still some of the most popular! Check out some of their best-selling products:

1960’s: collegiate fashion

Like many other fashion trends, the hooded sweatshirt grew its popularity quickly throughout high schools, as track and football athletes would give their hoodies to their girlfriends to wear. By the 1960’s the hoodie’s popularity continued to spread as university and colleges, much like today, began printing their logos on hoodies.

1970’s: the rise of the athletes

Originally called “side-line sweatshirts,” these new hooded sweatshirts fit right into the sports industry. By the 1960s, legends like Muhammed Ali were often photographed wearing hoodies in training. This celebrity appeal persisted thanks to icons like Joe Namath but its when the cult film Rocky came out in 1976, that the hooded sweatshirt finally gained some iconic status. The main actor Rocky Balboa (played by Sylvester Stallone,) wears a grey hoodie in most training scenes, as he fights his way up from amateur boxer to heavyweight champion of the world. All the big names in sports apparel jump on the trend. Here are some of our current sport brand faves:

1980’s and onwards… 

The rather negative connotation of the hoodie being associated to crime (and graffiti) rapidly became a positive, cool and urban association. Due to the emergence of New York hip hop culture and rap throughout the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s hip-hop and street style had developed a large influence on mainstream fashion. By the 1990’s the hooded sweatshirt was now regarded as the “hoodie” and had made its way to the runway, with brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren helping to bring the street style around full circle.

Today’s favourites… 

While the hoodie can still carry a negative connotation (such as sloppy dressing), it has become an increasingly popular piece of clothing due to its comfort and the wide array of styles, colours and materials that are now available. From retail patterns to sustainable material, there are options to chose what will best align with your brand.

Branded hoodies:

Branded hoodies they are a fantastic way to promote your brand while proving your employees and clients with ultimate comfort. In recent years we have seen branded hoodies inspired by streetstyle become increasingly popular.

There are hundreds of different hoodie styles, brand and colours that can be decorated in various ways to fit the image and branding of your brand. Popular decoration techniques include embroidery and 3D embroidery, screen printing, patches, custom woven labels, appliqués and heat transfers.

Screen print
Embroidery
Woven label
Twill applique

To learn more about different decoration techniques on hoodies, sweatshirts and other apparel, contact us at inquiries@bosspro.com.

And to see additional hoodies and other layering options for fall, see our Fall Style Guide.

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